Date of Award

5-2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur Smith

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if there was an increase in higher level comprehension when responding to a piece of literature using: literal questions, reader response in journals that only the teacher read, or reader response in journals that were then shared in student teams. The participants for this study were 70 tenth graders in three different classes in a high school located in Western New York. The classes were all heterogeneous in that they were inclusion classes with students of differing abilities and backgrounds. There were two teachers in the class; an English teacher and a special education teacher. The same two teachers taught all three of the classes. Each class used a different format for responding to the literature. The literature used for this study was the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The first class responded to the literature by answering five teacher-made literal questions. The second class responded by writing a response in their journals. The entries were not shared with anyone in the class, except for the teacher. The third class responded by writing a response in their journals and then shared that response with the members in their teams. Each team was made up of four to five students. After completing their responses using their specific format, each class then took the same four-question, higher-level comprehension quiz. Both teachers graded the quizzes using a rubric. The scores were averaged to determine the student's grade. Although the data do not show statistically significant differences between the three approaches, the students who used the reader response format with team sharing received the higher average on the quizzes overall. This shows that the reader response format with team sharing may improve higher level comprehension.

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